Thursday, August 31, 2006

Well ow.

The car is fixed and I have spent just about exactly $900 on it this week. The air is cold. I mean really, truly, sincerely, this-has-obviously-been-going-downhill-for-quite-some-time cold. It was worth it, but that doesn't stop me from feeling like car dealerships really just want you to walk in and dump out your wallet.

So I was going to go back over to that sale Sheila was having and pick up some more Silky Wool and Mandalay, but I decided to get the car cleaned instead. At Shur-Brite, my own personal Car Wash (yes, like the movie). Eight people armed with towels and cleaners and vacuums polished my car right up in no time. The big machines cleaned my floor mats and the bigger machines buffed my car.

See, I am a girl. Not a real girly-girl, but if there is one thing on all of planet earth I hate, it's cleaning cars. I can't stand it. I hate the stupid vacuums at car washes. I hate the shampoo brush that gets all over my shoes. I hate the beeping quarter machine that tells me my time is almost out. I hate going to the automotive aisle at Target and spending $20 on car cleaners. And I believe in paying experts to do things I don't like to do myself.

Shur-Brite seems like a happy place. The radio is always playing, the workers are smack-talking each other, and there are usually a few tourists walking up the street from their hotel and wondering what part of the hood they just wandered in to (which I find incredibly funny, because it's down by Vanderbilt, which is practically as far as you can get from the hood in Nashville). The people are nice, the cars get clean, and I am happy to give them my business every few months.

I get my car cleaned the same week I get the oil changed. Because I get free oil changes with the car, so I keep up the inside with that money. And it's paid off - my car is very, very nice on the inside. Even though it's old.

So the other day I heard on the radio that if you are taking a car trip the top three things you can do for your gas mileage are - inflate your tires, change your oil, and get your car waxed. Because it really does come down to minutiae with aerodynamics. I really wonder if that is true - it seems like it.

I am nearly done with leg of sock 1. Tonight I'm going to knit the ribbing of sock 2 so if I knit in the car tomorrow it's just stockinette. I need to load up the iPod and clear off the camera.

It will be a real quick trip, and I doubt I'll be posting. See you Monday, and have a happy weekend!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Fashion atrocities

My goodness me, we have some ugly "fashion" out there. Y'all, I am the most un-fashionable person in the world when it comes to wearing actual clothes. You would never know that I had any taste at all to look at me. But the mean mean art director in me can't help but comment, starting with Rockstar: Supernova.

First off, Dilana, you can do better. The crazy hair extensions, heroin chic makeup and hardware in your face say one thing: 90s. The 90s are over. You look sad, drunk and tired. Every time I see you I think "You do not seriously think you look good." I know there is a face in there somewhere.

(I warned you - I'm mean tonight!)

Ryan: All Black, All the Time is So 90s.

Storm...maybe you were scared tonight so you dressed up in a crazy costume, but you were a mess. A "Daddy" tattoo on your stomach is not clevah and what was that fake frizz stuff on there because it looked like you shaved it all off and then tattooed it back on - and please for the love of all that is good in the world get some pants that don't require a Hollywood. And save licking Dilana's face for later when y'all two are alone.

(Ok, turning down the Mean.) Lukas looked cool as ice last night and tonight, and Magni, though not particularly fash, always looks good. I am completely fascinated by Lukas' hair and Nathan-Lane eyebrows (they have no arch! Y'all!) Toby (tonight better than last night) rocked it with Billy Idol and the groupie girlies and finally wore something approaching a proper rock costume instead of the t-shirt and twin biker wallets he normally sports. I loved Lukas' performance, but then I think he's far and away the best one. It will be him or Magni. Whoever it is will be the best part of the band.

Now...on to Project Runway. I don't even have the energy to talk about these getups. Predictable, boring...Uli, Vincent...Laura...not my favorites. Kayne - loved the pants and belt buckle but the shirt made it too Elvis, he needed a tight tiny tee to wear that outfit and give it some irony. Also, I hate his hair. Angela looked silly. Michael looked fantabulous, and Jeffrey was ok...hated the jacket but I absolutely loved the rhinestones on those pants. They were A Runway. Hilarious.

So obviously I don't have anything better to do than put down my fellow Americans - but the truth is that I'm just spouting off opinions. Fashion is crap, mostly...but. It's show business, y'all, and obnoxious does not equal cool. I admire people with innate style, who have the moves and the attitude to make everything look good. I also admit to a certain fascination with Tommy Lee's stomach, for some weird reason I am not totally sure of myself (clearly it has to do with the fact that you could bounce a quarter off it) but the clothes just kinda caught my attention tonight.

I got two skeins of Knit Picks Gloss in the mail from a trade I did with a girl over at the Knittyboard. The yarn is extra super beautiful to behold, super soft wool-silk combo, and I would take pictures but it's dark. So maybe tomorrow.

And y'all, when I am not tired and crabby I have to tell you about this writer's night. It was extremely weird. And my car did not get fixed today. The part did not come in. Hopefully it will be there tomorrow, I can get it fixed and then take it over to the car wash and be on my merry way on Friday to Michigan. I like to travel in a clean car.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

I don't want to blog about it

But I can't help myself. A man with two teeth cussed me out today - I witnessed an accident he caused, I stopped, I made the HUGE HUGE mistake of telling him what I saw (nicely) and he was absolutely out of his freaking tree mad at me. I didn't get out of the car, but the hostility was palpable. Turns out no one was injured and it wasn't a big deal but this guy was just flat-out mean.

So other than that, my Schaefer Anne sock is coming along nicely after three ! froggings. I started on a 0 with 72 stitches; frogged, recast with 80; decided fabric was too stiff; frogged back to about three round of rib and switched to a 1. It was a good decision. The sock is much better.

I've got a crib sheet about doing that arch shaping, and I'm going to knit the leg in stockinette till I can't stand it anymore. Possibly I might get an actual sock that is a decent length.

I'm going to pretend I never saw fat angry men with bad dental work, and go to a writer's night tonight. Because, dang. Y'all, I am not happy with myself.

Monday, August 28, 2006

The damage

They *think* it's the clutch in the compressor - definitely something to do with the compressor - so on Wednesday I am going to plunk down $700 for a new one. The squealing was the back brakes - so dirty they cleaned them without even asking me because it was a safety issue. The back brakes are drum brakes, which are sealed, and every now and then you have to get the dust cleaned out. Front brakes are self-cleaning.

Ok, I'm just glad I have the money and paying for this won't hurt me financially. But it does make me impatient and wish that I had more in the bank, so I could just get another car. But the ones I'm looking at are $11-13k, and I couldn't do that without a car payment. And I do not want a car payment.

So I am happy about that, but not so happy about the compressor (hope it fixes it) or the hurricane (however small) headed toward my parents' house.

But other than that, things are fantastic! Woooo!

Finished socks!

Finished Mango socks!

Stitch pattern: Diagonal Rib socks, free pattern to IK subscribers
Yarn: Mama-E's sock yarn, Mango Salsa
Needles: 2.5 mm INOX Express circular
Sock pattern: My own hybrid, see Notes
Notes: I worked my favorite toe - with Queen Kahuna's Aloha cast-on, and increased out to 66 stitches. Used my favorite heel - toe up no flap short row and gusset heel. Did the sock toe-up instead of top down. Used the Elizabeth Zimmermann sewn bindoff - this is the easiest, stretchiest, loveliest toe-up bind off ever. I am a total convert and will never again use anything else. In fact, I may rip back my other toe up socks and bind them off this way just for fun. (Prolly not.)

These socks were just difficult enough to not be tv knitting, and too easy to keep me really occupied. Though I love the finished object, I really want to knit some boring old stockinette socks.

Fee says, "Get out of my face with that flashy thing." No, really I just woke her up. She's doing better. Grady was hiding.
Fee's just mad

Sunday, August 27, 2006

An actual post

I went exploring yesterday and ended up in Amish country. I was hoping for yarn. No jackpot, but we did get some real good fried pies and had a fun time driving around the countryside.

The a/c, however, is not getting any better in my car. So tomorrow, into the shop. But it's making a weird groaning noise at random. Kind of like a belt but not as high and squealy. My friend thinks it might be the wheel bearings. So I could potentially need a big fix on the a/c and the front end, and if so - I'll have a new (to me) car at the end of the week. I'm prepared for the worst. I don't want another car payment, but I'm willing to do it and knock it out in a year. I'm thinking 2002 Altima. Not black, with tinted windows and leather. Otherwise, not picky.

I am going to Michigan at the end of the week, so having a good car is a priority. Of course, if it's not that bad I'll have mine fixed, and if I can't find another car I'll rent one for the trip, but I'm feeling like this is probably going to happen. Stink, huh?

I finished one Mango sock today - all but the bindoff and I am going to learn that EZ sewn one tonight as soon as I finish knitting the leg of sock 2, which should take about 45 minutes.

Then I'm thinking I'm going to start some socks with the FABULOUS OPAL SOCK YARN my still-anonymous secret pal sent me. That stuff is so purty! I think I need a basic stockinette sock I can just wham through...this pattern is just fiddly enough to not be tv knitting but not complicated enough to make me sweat. Translation - they'll be footies, because I am bored sick of the pattern. But I am going to love my socks!

Also, I want to do something with that arch shaping I was talking about earlier this week. So maybe a nice stockinette sock with some cool shaping is in order.

I'll have to check with the yarn, though, to see what it wants to be. And did I tell y'all, I counted my stash last night and I have one hundred and sixty-eight balls of yarn. Not counting partials.

So, um, yeah. Time to knit.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

New work!

Y'all, check out my new Codenames home page. Lurve!

The World's Greatest Rock n' Roll Band

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Totally wiped

If all goes well I'll make my 2pm deadline tomorrow with room to spare, but I'm getting a little frayed around the edges. I came home tonight desperately in need of some quiet and reflective prayer time, and promptly fell asleep for an hour and a half. It messed with my head. I caught up on Project Runway (boo Jeffrey, BADLY done) and knitted a ton on my Sweet sweater. I'm about an inch and a half into it on size 5 needles. I'm knitting a hem so OH CRAP I FORGOT TO DO A PURL ROW FOR TURNING

you see? Wiped. Out. I'm going to visit my folks for a quick trip Labor Day weekend - I really need it. Somehow the idea of traveling 650 miles and being at least 45 minutes from the nearest Wal-Mart or building over 5 stories high is terribly, terribly appealing to me right now. I'd like to crawl under my desk and hide, actually - but that would be the drama queen in me acting up. With a toxic combination of PMS.

Must post pictures of the AWESOME needle case I got in a swap with the AWESOME Zonda. She is my knitting twin (we are always inadvertently working on at least two projects that are the same) and a super nice chick! Go check out her new blog banner and give her some bloggy love. That's my handiwork, there. :)

If you need me, I'll be tinking, grouchy and unable to sleep until after midnight. Sigh.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

It got me thinking

I read far, far too many patterns yesterday on the Garnstudio website, and what I got to thinking about is how very different American and Norwegian knitting patterns are.

I have been thinking about this ever since I became a knitter. See, I've been a knitter since February 2005. But my Gran? She was a hard-core Norwegian knitter, and she died in 1993.

She was in her garden puttering around when she had a stroke. Though she didn't die instantly, she likely never knew what hit her.

So anyway. When I was a kid we had these Norwegian mittens, which I must find a picture of and post, that were white with black Selbu stars on them and snowflakes on the palm. Mom made those - by finding a pair Gran made and writing out the chart stitch by stitch on graph paper. Then she knitted them. No pattern. Stranded Norwegian knitting, and that was her only pattern.

So the thing is, I wanted to incorporate some of this fearlessness into my own knitting as soon as I felt like I knew what I was doing enough to be let loose on my own. Part of it is the generality of patterns - "knit for 7 inches, then knit the heel" is what a Norwegian pattern is more likely to say, while an American knitter is more likely to give you row-by-row instructions for turning the heel instead of telling you just to knit over the gaps. I'm not quite there, but if you notice, I do tend to post pattern things that say "increase here and here every other row x times, then blah" and I don't really get specific.

I would like to think this is in my blood, but it really isn't. It's a desire to be like Mom and Gran in my knitting, to carry on their legacy of figuring the darn thing out myself rather than having to carry a 15-page sock pattern around in my bag.

Gran stored all these things in her head - how to crochet an angel for the Christmas tree, how to make gravy, how to make a pot of coffee without a coffee measure. She taught me how to peel potatoes with a knife without cutting myself. She drank green tea by the gallon. She was diminutive - I think I was taller than her by the time I reached sixth grade - with dark brown hair, grey eyes and pale skin. Her voice was singsong, punctuated by "ya" every few sentences, and there was a musical quality to the pacing of her speech - Mom has it too, and occasionally I do.

I wish I had her knitting needles, because whenever I get into a sticky project I try to get into her head and think about how to solve it. I think for this reason alone I adore Elizabeth Zimmermann - because she is this kind of practical, sensible knitter. Because of them, I worked out a way to do arch shaping for socks on my own - and then (a miracle) I looked at the VK sock pattern to check my work and realized I was not far off at all except for the number of stitches to leave in the center.

So these Drops patterns say things like "knit in stockinette stitch till work matches the diagram" or "decrease four stitches at each end of the work three times" - wha? how?

They leave you to work it out. Like the Knitty article says, they assume you know what a decrease is and how to use it.

I think American knitters should know more of this. I have to work out a picture in my mind to get what a skpsso does even though I know it's a left-leaning decrease. I don't think in terms of knitting terms yet.

But why am I afraid to tackle one of these patterns as my first?

Because I would want my Gran to stand with me and show me how to make gravy, that's why. So maybe for a second sweater I will knit one in her honor.


1. Absorba the Giant Bath Mat - stalled out at about 15 x 18 inches. Just got tired of it.
2. Weird log cabin thing - probably a pillow cover or cat bed. Needs a few more rows and a back, then some finishing.
3. Odessa hat - cotton hurt my hands. Must find new yarn and start again. frogged
4. Cosmetic bag - nearly done! Have 8 of 9 gingham pattern repeats finished. Must knit flap and put on snaps/buttons. finished
5. Pink and Tan sock - stalled after unfortunate experience with short-row heel. Will prolly rip. frogged
6. Clapotis - what clapotis? Kirsten!!!
7. Mango Salsa socks - proceeding nicely.
8. Placemats from Holiday Knits - love, am knitting, just not finished yet.
9. Another warshrag. In progress. finished
10. Pea Pod sweater - frogged. frogged
11. Madder Rib socks - one done, one stalled. Don't like the fit. Will frog or give away (sniff!).
12. Fetching wristwarmers - done!

New list:
1. Absorba
2. Log-cabin
3. Clapotis
4. Mango socks
5. Placemats
6. New washrag
7. Madder rib socks

Of these, 5 are on hold and 2 are actively being knitted. Not too bad, for me!

Very Fetching!

I finished the thumb on the second, then realized I did the bindoff wrong in two places (forgot that ever-important extra cast-on stitch for the picot), ripped it back, redid, ran out of yarn at the last five stitches, added in some extra, wove in ends and voila -

Very Fetching
Very Fetching, don't you think?

I also swatched again last night. This time I started a swatch in the Silky Wool to see if I'd like it better knitted up at 24 spi. I don't - so I think I'm going to go with a pattern that knits up at 23. (The other swatch I did was 22, and feels just a tad too loose.) I'll let y'all know once I've cast on the hundred million stitches it takes to make this piece (on size 4s).

For the moment, I need to work on my socks. The siren song of Schaefer Anne is calling my name, wanting to be those Meg Swanson socks from VK (though, sadly, they will not be knee socks). I heard the whole printed pattern is wrong, as in, they printed the wrong pattern - so if you make 'em, double check the VK errata page!

Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Something every pattern writer should include

"Read entire next section before knitting:"

New sweater contender.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Swatchy goodness

Swatched the EL Silky Tweed tonight, because I finished the other Fetching glove (except the thumb) and I promised myself that as a reward. I don't remember the other skeins I've bought being so tangled - these are crazy tangled, enough so that winding two skeins took over half an hour. The yarn is crunchy to knit and feels a bit sparse, but once it gets wet, it takes on a life of its own. I can't wait to see it dry.

I am swatching for Marilyn's Not-So-Shrunken Cardigan (from The Garter Belt), but I will make some modifications to it probably. For one thing, I'm not sure a cropped cardigan is going to look good on me - I'm so long waisted. I need a longer silhouette to balance me out. Luckily it's a raglan and I'll be able to try it on as I go. Love the knitted hem. The ruffles, not so much (then why did I pick this pattern? Huh. Love the shape.) So I may end up doing a button band that is flat but hems around the back. Will have to see. Will it mean the sweater will bear no resemblance to the original and probably embarrass the designer? Probably. Does it mean I have no discipline when it comes to following patterns? Pretty much!

I was dutiful - I measured my favorite cardigan and wrote down the measurements for sizing this. I believe it will end up the same length as that cardi, but shaped. I believe I'll probably run out of wool and need more.

But I got gauge - 22 st/in on #6s. You see the holes, don't you? It's because I always forget. So, yo/k2tog, and the number of holes = the needle size. I saw this on Knitty Gritty a while ago, and forgot about it till I saw Kate's lovely knitted-in needle sizes. Hers are better, but this is all my lack of talent allows.

So here is the swatch. It's wet, but already looks more even and less crunchy. And smells delightfully of lavender.


Fee's better!

Thank you to all the well-wishers asking about Fee. We had a scary weekend involving a lot of TMI throwing up, but thanks to the Biokleen company we (including the carpet) got through it. The side effect of the medicine is throwing up about an hour after taking it. Any food that is not dry cat food - treats, ham, anything - seems to induce that particular side-effect. So no treats for you, Fee!

But she's more chipper, that's for sure. On Saturday morning I sectioned off a corner of the bedroom with a clothes basket and gave her food, water, kitty grass, a cat box and a bed. She hid under the bed in that corner all day, but yesterday seemed brighter and cheerier and ate well and hung out with me and Schmade for most of the day.

So I feel a lot better because she's better, and my ancient ninja tactic for giving a kitty a pill without additionally losing a finger seems to be working, or at least the unpleasantness only lasts about 30 seconds.

I scored big time (thank you Sheila!) at Threaded Bliss - she's having a big two-week sale and I got some yarn I've wanted forever...8 skeins of Silky Wool in a lovely brown color and 8 skeins of Reynolds Mandalay 100% silk in oatmeal, the yarn and color spec'd for the Cozy pattern from Knitty, which I am going to attempt to make for Christmas for Mom, or maybe her birthday (which is later). The Silky Wool is going to be a Marilyn's Not-So-Shrunken Cardigan, with a few modifications. As soon as I finish my other Fetching glove to free up the needle I need, I'm off!

Y'all. I am going to knit a real live sweater! Wish me luck - I need it.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Finished! Object!

Cosmetic Bag from Holiday Knits

Started: last week of July, 2006
Finished: 20 August 2006
Needles: #4 and #6 INOX Express, 40" cord
Yarn: Sugar'n Cream cotton, pink, white, red
3 1/2" metal snaps
2 5/8" white buttons
Red embroidery thread

Modifications: None, except yarn substitution

Pattern notes: For the love of a small dog named Pete, do NOT use Sugar'n Cream if you make this bag. It was like running uphill, underwater, with a 50-pound bag of rabbit chow strapped to my hips. Use the King Tut, or some Fantasy Natural, or Tahki Cotton Classic, or even Rowan Handknit Cotton. Anything but SnC. Because it's hard to knit with.

Thanks to the helpful suggestion of Chris, I was able to get the snaps on the bag this morning in record time. Thank you for suggesting embroidery thread. I feel I owe you my life. :o)

Seaming the bottom of the bag was El Paino in La Reardo. But this does make a very nice, sturdy bag that will stand up to the effects of cosmetics on a daily basis, should its new owner so choose. It's a birthday present for my friend (I hope she doesn't read my blog.)

So here are the pictures, including an action shot. (Sorry they are so big, but the small ones were kind of blah.)

Flap closed

Flap open


In action

Would I make this bag again? In a heartbeat! I plan to, but in Tahki Cotton Classic, I think.

Happy Sunday! Stay frosty.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Saturday sky

Just sneaking it in.

Saturday sky

Friday, August 18, 2006


It was worth the price of admission just to hear "I am TIRED of these blankety-blank snakes on this blankety-blank PLANE."

I laughed my BUTT off. It was GREAT. Very predictable, very cheesy/campy, and VERY funny.

Y'all might think differently...but I think if I'd been watching with my sister, one of us would have wet our pants laughing.

I am trying to find the right balance of taking care of Fee and fussing over her. It's hard with a cat.


Fee has a urinary tract infection, two weeks of antibiotics and a really bad haircut. Poor gallie.

Tonight, guess where I'm going? You'd be right if you guessed that!


Another search I got was "Napoleon Dynamite phone cord sale."

Whatevs, people!

I work all day in a pretty office

GB had me watching some Dlamond Dave videos (I can't find them but I am spelling his name wrong on purpose) over at YouTube the other day, and I would just like to say that cocaine use is a very, very bad thing. Dave works all day in a pretty office - that is, the ugliest of recording studios - he has a harsh, interruptive laugh, and he's more nervous than the proverbial cat with the rocking chairs. It was really pretty sad.

Today I have to take Fee to the vet. WIthout spreading Fee's business around on the street, she's developed a bit of an aversion to keeping herself clean. This seems to coincide with the timing of the litter box change, so possibly she may be telling me she hates the new litter (there is a box with Feline Pine in there as well, so that's not really logical, but neither is a fastidious long-haired cat suddenly reeking of urine). I did a few informal tests last night and I'm positive she can reach around, that is, that she didn't suddenly get fat or injured or something.

Anyway, I'm sorry for getting a bit too detailed but I am worried about my kitty. We'll see.

Well, I decided to change this part of the post because of some weird Google searches, but if you got my RSS feed and read what it used to say, just laugh.

So anyway. I am doing another dishcloth in sunny orange and yellow and white, and didn't work on my socks at all last night. I am thinking about starting a sweater. Soon. Just not sure which one, and since I have several sweaters worth of yarn, it shouldn't be too hard to pick.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

I (heart) Spoony

I learned a new word

"Apace." Which isn't anything at all like "apache", though you would think so. (Look it up.)

I'm woefully behind at work after some network issues, so this post has to be super short. Last night I finished a warshrag while watching Rockstar Supernova (Lukas continues to be the best). I can't believe I haven't got tired of making them after or eight? Such a memorizable pattern.

I'm bringing one with me today - yellow orange and white variegated with an orange background.

Which reminds me, I won a drawing over at Dye-O-Rama and got a lovely skein of yarn from Carol at Black Bunny Fibers / Go Knit in Your Hat. Not only do I love Carol's blog, I love her yarn! It arrived Tuesday in absolutely glorious shades of orange and gold. I will take pictures and post - meantime, go give Carol some love if you need sock yarn! She is talented, smart and super nice. Thanks, Carol!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Such is Mango!

My Mango socks remind me of my favorite Saturday Night Live boyfriend.
Mango socks

Don't you love how the colors are pooling so...purposefully? Beautiful!

Here's a picture of Fetching.
Very Fetching!

(Please ignore my truly scary heel visible in the bottom left corner. I need a pedicure, stat!)

#2 isn't quite there yet, but #1 is! I did three cable crosses, then knit 34 rows of 4x1, then set aside thumb, then knit 8 rows of ribbing, then cable row, then 5 rows of ribbing, then picot bind off. And for the thumb I switched to #7 dpns and knit 5 rows, then bound off normally.

Can you know the mighty ocean? No? Such is MANGO!

And I caught Fee for the camera for once! (Grady is nowhere to be found.) She is my green-eyed monster.
Green Eyed Monster

I think I fixed it

I ripped back Fetching to the thumb. I knitted 8 rounds in ribbing, then a cable round, then 5 rounds in ribbing, then bound off with the picot edge. Then I ripped back the thumb and knit it on #7 dpns (the horror) for 5 rounds, then did a regular bind-off. I'm really happy with it and started the right one, which I like much better because C4F is much easier for me to do with no cable needle. (I got through the C4Bs on the left glove, but only reluctantly and because I haaaate cable needles.)

Really, I did all of Shedir with no cable needle. This should not have been hard.

Ok, so, yes, I love my little glovie love, but I have to run to get t work, so pictures later.

Check out Kirsten's blog to see her cute avatar picture thingie. I tried doing one of these but the t-shirt I really wanted wasn't available.

I wanted one that says "Maybe - If You Were In A Band." (Ha! Based on a t-shirt I saw this weekend at the mall. How awful is that??)

Saturday, August 12, 2006

I had no idea my hair was this red

But I like it. Here's a self-portrait. Though I don't usually post pictures of meself, today I was experimenting with a photo essay - different stages of makeup - and this was the Smiling, Final, Now Don't I Feel Better shot. The other stuff was a bit too scary. Maybe another time.

Went to Pirates 2 again, this time in digital theater. Digital ROCKS. Movie was better second time.

Here's the sky this afternoon - puffy cumulus clouds and high humidity:

And here's Fee, running from me and the camera yet again!
Fee escapes

I bought the Fall VK today because I am absolutely smitten with these socks (yes, you know which ones, don't you? with the arch shaping? who says arches are just for eyebrows???) and because there's a Cat Bordhi sock pattern, the Meg Swansons, a pair of Nancy Bush socks....aiyee! I'm in heaven! Best $5.99 I ever spent! I am usually not tempted by VK, but this issue is really nice.

Also today I went to JoAnn in search of snaps and buttons for The Bag. While I was there I couldn't resist a run through the knitting section - while there is precious little in the way of yarn that tempts me, I did enjoy looking at the knitting tools. I found this little doohicky and I really wish I would have bought one back when I was knitting The Bag.

Sadly, the snap sewing in was a bit of a disaster - I need to buy some red or pink thread, and stronger than what I had. It took me two hours to sew on 2 1/2 snaps, and I'm going to have to rip them all out! But I don't want to give my friend a badly finished gift. So I will redo it.

Y'all have a nice Sunday. Is everyone gone to the beach? Too hot for that here!

Watch this

Watch my boy Ze Frank talk about terrorism (it gets better after the sample top ten list).

Funny, but I was just saying something along these lines to GB tonight. More in a minute.

Go watch.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Rainy day

I love rain. Rain means it can't be 97 degrees when I leave work. Rain means we might get cooler weather for a couple days. Rain! Yeah!

I've been working on my first Fetching fingerless glove. I love the whole thing, but I have issues. First, although it fits me, I think I have gauge issues. Maybe my ribbing gauge is just too loose. I think after examining the pictures on the pattern page it's probably better to do it tighter and add another pattern repeat to fit my hands. I'm also having a transition issue between the body of the glove (in ribbing) and the thumb (stockinette). I can either rip the thumb back and do it in the rib pattern (but it's 17 stitches and the pattern is a multiple of 5) or knit with a bigger needle. I don't really like the bindoff I used anyway - it's the one where you keep purling two stitches together. It's nice and loose but a little thick.

Which brings me to the fingertip area. The line instructions seem to be a little short, or I have very weird hands. Between the last cable after the bottom edge and the thumb, the pattern calls for 18 rounds. I wanted mine a little longer, so I did 34. (34!) I think that length is fine, but I don't think I added enough rows after the thumb, because I wasn't really seeing how the thumb was going to work until I was done with another cable row. You knit 7 of the live stitches onto waste yarn and then go back later and add it in like an afterthought heel. (For some reason I thought those 7 stitches were just going to form one edge of it.)

The picot bindoff isn't my favorite, but it could be a) the gauge really is too loose or b) the finger section is too short.

Either way I'm going to rip it back and fix some of these issues - maybe knit it on 5's, with a 6 for the thumb, and maybe do 28 rows of rib pattern between cable and thumb, and maybe add another 4-8 rows after the thumb and maintain the cable pattern.

One mistake I have made in the past with other (failed) armwarmer projects is making the thumb portion too long. I always feel like I want it right at the knuckle, but then when it's done it seems to look funny or get in the way or something. My thumb is also an odd shape - the bottom knuckle, the one in my hand, is very angular. I don't think it looks odd, but it does mean I am probably going to have to adjust for it.

Anyway here's a halfhearted picture.

Not very fetching

I had a bad dream last night - maybe it was the rain. You know how you walk around a little upset or p'o-ed and then allasudden you realize it was JUST A DREAM so get over it? It's like that.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


I am always thinking about expectations. With every role you take on in life, you take on certain expectations from other people and you make them for yourself. Usually the point at which expectations crash into reality is a little like a thunderstorm - noisy, full of electricity, and a little scary. Getting through those storms caused by expectations meeting reality can be tricky.

So here I am today and I learned a little about expectations yesterday from a dear friend. I'm also thinking about what expectations I have of myself in my life - money, job, friends.

Lately I haven't been very demanding of myself. I've kept up my responsibilities, but I haven't pushed myself as hard as I usually go. My list of personal expectations is along these lines - save money, work hard at what I do, take care of yourself, work out, keep the apartment clean, take care of the cats, stay in touch with family and friends. I have been doing the minimum in some areas and more than I need to in others. A lot of it I've blamed on health issues, but really, do I need to sit indoors every single night just because my stomach hurts? I don't like that - so reality has crashed into my self-expectations.

(Really, this is a fancy way of saying I could knit a sweater with all the cat hair that is on the carpet today.)

One area of my life where I have tried to totally let go of expectations is as a knitter. I admit it fully - I will never use all my stash, even as small as it is. Now why is that a problem? Stash equals possibilities, and I always want possibilities in my life. I expect that I will be reasonable with my finances and not spend my emergency fund on yarn, but aside from that? I don't really expect that I'll finish x project on x day. It really doesn't matter - it's a hobby. So I like having that one outlet where my expectations really don't matter.

Knitting is a word-picture for me, an illustration of one of the great truths of life: all you can do is knit the next stitch. When you don't know what you are doing or how you're ever going to get through those sleeve decreases or how many times you are going to have to knit this swatch to get gauge - all you can do is knit the next stitch.

That is one of the single most meaningful lessons in life I have ever learned. When you don't know what you're going to do next or how you are going to solve this thing in front of you and how can I possibly do x, y, and z...just do the next thing.

Just knit the next stitch. You can do that, can't you? Well so can I. And that makes me really, really encouraged and happy today.

Monday, August 07, 2006

I am falling really behind

I've been in the living room, parked on the couch for hours watching trashy-arse programs on O! - like "Snapped" - which are really just reveling in the misfortunes of others. I was also reading an article in Real Simple about narcissism and thanking God that the description in the article doesn't seem to fit me.

Because I have a closet streak of hypochondria reserved for reading magazine and web articles and thinking it's me. Honestly, one year my New Year's resolution was "I will not look up my symptoms on the web."

So I thought today that I would catch up and make it about The Yarn, The Secret Pal, and The Cats.

First, The Yarn. You remember that Betty and I had us a yarn crawl on Saturday, to this yarn store. Three wonderful rooms of yarn, arranged by color in one room, fiber in another, and purpose in the third. (Run with it. Red, Alpaca, Sock.)

I got two skeins of Fortissima Socka in a nice brown color for a secret project. I say "secret" when I really mean "unplanned" because it might crap out into nothing and then I'd have to admit to you all that once again I said I was going to do a knitting project and then immediately forgot all about it.

Also, last week I got a skein of Schaefer Anne in lovely gray blues, and three skeins of All Things Heather sock yarn. Y'all. Honestly and truly, if you haven't tried this yarn already, you have to try it. It's so beautiful and she has such a gift for color - all while being a super knitter and a mom! And she sews clothes for her daughter! (I was just congratulating myself for changing the sheets, about 10 days later than I should have.) So buy some of her yarn.

So here is that picture:

I finished the knitting part of the cosmetic bag:
Cosmetic bag

I cornered Grady and took some shots:

Up close

Physically restrained Fee and snapped another, including my looking-very-unlovely-and-indelicate-wrist:
I had to hold her down

Which brings me to Another Secret Pal gift. I got giftie 3 from my darling SP, who hasn't so much as given me a fake first name to go on (must remember to do that next time). Who is she? Will she tell? Is she famous and afraid I'll stalk her? Stay tuned! The contents:
Gift #3!

Plum Green tea (I am currently enraptured with some plum jelly GB's mom sent me recently, so this makes me happy), a daisy bucket, some AWESOME zippy bags that hold precisely one skein of yarn, a beautiful picture of Imperial Pier, CA, a skein of OPAL which i have been dying to try, and a catnip toy for Grady and Fee:

Grady is absolutely beside himself, he's so besotted with this fish. I hooked it up to the interchangeable cat toy fishing pole we have and he moved faster than I have ever seen him go chasing it. I am seriously impressed. Thank you Secret Pal from all of us at Chez I-Cord!

Time for dinner. Popcorn and a protein shake. (I know.)

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Didn't I say "insane"?

So very occasionally I get migraines - most are mild, nothing like what some people get. I haven't had one in a long while. They make me act strange - I get all spacey and loopy before I get one. Today GB and I went to see Talladega Nights (hilarious) and ate at Waffle House after (in keeping with our habit of Theme Restaurants After Movies. You should get eggs and bacon, and have the waffle for dessert. It's blissful.). And I forgot a giant part of the movie and how could I not have realized that was Ali G and felt really spacey while we were talking and a little while later while I was driving home my head started to hurt. So, to bed with two Ex migraine and hope it helps. Right? (It did. I caught it in time.)

So I dreamed a bill collector was after me. Someone from the "Fortune Palace" - a Chinese restaurant, only I haven't ever been anywhere like that, it's totally made up - was trying to collect a bill for a meal. (Except look here, it really exists but in a place I've never been.) For $141.00. There was an operator from Sprint who called me to tell me the restaurant was looking for me, and some other crazy stuff. Kept calling me Mrs Suss. (Like in "suspicious," or "analyze" see "suss out" - British slang.) And GB called in real life and woke me up, and when I picked up the phone I was in the middle of the dream so I told him all about it. He's going to tease me for years about the Fortune Palace. So funny. I swear, the kind of things I make up.

I tried a little spinning today. I am sorry to disappoint all y'all who were cheering me over to the Dark Side, but I did not. Like it. At all. I apologize for that and I'm ready to turn my membership card for Non-Spinners Who Thought They Would Like A Try. It just wasn't any fun. I was in it for about $10 total so I'm not upset.

And it was hot. And I got some sun. Which I originally thought would be a sunburn but turned out to just be red for a bit AND THEN WENT STRAIGHT TO FRECKLES ON MY FACE. Because I will never ever have a tan on my face as long as I am alive. Just freckles. Last fall I went to a Titans game in OCTOBER and got fried - I was bright red for a week and you know what happened when the red went away?


Saturday, August 05, 2006


Today I bought a drop spindle.

Here's the sky today -
Blue sky

Some things I like

I don't usually post about non-knitting stuff that I like, but today it seemed like fun.

Last night we watched The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players. I love them. If you ever have an opportunity to see them live, go! (This was a dvd, but still very entertaining.) Here is their MySpace page - watch the YouTubes for an example of what they do. They find old slides and sort them out and write songs to them...and play the slides during the shows. It's a family operation - Dad sings and plays guitar, Mom does costuming and slides, and Daughter plays drums. (I like the daughter the best. She's the coolest 12-year old ever...someone I never was.)

A site that I really, really love and try to visit as often as possible is Found Magazine, which is sort of ideologically related to the TFSP.

Yet another version of this concept is Women and Dogs, a site devoted to collecting old photos of...women...and dogs!

(Really, that sounds naughty but it's not.)

Something else that is one of my favorite things (for randomness) is the 30-second Bunnies Theater Troupe. Yes, I know I've been harping on these guys for years, but they are really good, and if you've seen any of the movies in the list you should watch them. I think my favorite is Titanic.

While you're there, read Amy's Diary. It's not very long, and it's very funny.

Tonight we are going to watch Elvis - the concert in Hawaii. Is it called Blue Hawaii? I think so.

I finished the body of the bag last night, but after grafting together I found I'd made a mistake halfway through where the squares don't line up. So I will pick it out (don't you hate it when knitters say "unpick"? What does that mean?) and rebind it today.

Happy Saturday! I'm going for a walk.

Friday, August 04, 2006


Scout's challenge to us all is talk of UFOs. It's actually post pictures of UFOs, but I don't have any pictures today so I'll talk y'all through it and post them later. Or not.

1. Absorba the Giant Bath Mat - stalled out at about 15 x 18 inches. Just got tired of it.
2. Weird log cabin thing - probably a pillow cover or cat bed. Needs a few more rows and a back, then some finishing.
3. Odessa hat - cotton hurt my hands. Must find new yarn and start again.
4. Cosmetic bag - nearly done! Have 8 of 9 gingham pattern repeats finished. Must knit flap and put on snaps/buttons.
5. Pink and Tan sock - stalled after unfortunate experience with short-row heel. Will prolly rip.
6. Clapotis - what clapotis? Kirsten!!!
7. Mango Salsa socks - proceeding nicely.
8. Placemats from Holiday Knits - love, am knitting, just not finished yet.
9. Another warshrag. In progress.
10. Pea Pod sweater - frogged.
11. Madder Rib socks - one done, one stalled. Don't like the fit. Will frog or give away (sniff!).

See, you're not alone out there! Unlike some other people, I make no promises about finishing any of these, let alone when. I plan to keep on knitting whatever I feel like knitting at the moment, and if I finish, I finish. For now, that's enough.

My stomach is feeling much better - stopping the Singulair really helped. I also feel less stressed/impatient/aggressive, and I wonder if it had something to do with my mood as well. I'll know soon enough - I'll start back on it as soon as ragweed season starts.

But for now it's hot season, and my breathing is fine...other than feeling like I'm inhaling air from the oven.

Tomorrow Betty and I take a stash-enhancing road trip. Woot!

Y'all. Happy Friday.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


I just ordered the pattern for this,

and I think, despite my earlier commentary on The Store That Shall Not Be Named, I'll just wh0re myself out and order some Andean Silk...because I don't even know if I'll ever knit this. (Equivocation, see? It's everywhere.)

Sooooo pretty. Unlike this, which you may have missed if you skipped the closing comments on You Knit What. Because everybody needs their own Cookie Monster knitted pants. With feet. For only $125.

Crazy juice

Mel Gibson needs to get off the crazy juice. In addition to his recent drunken antics, we have this little gem.

That, my lovelies, is what a Ho1ocaust denier does. It's called "equivocation" - equate the systematic murdering of 6 million Jews in WWII with the "tens of millions of people" who died in WWII. "Some were Jews...Many lost their lives."

Crazy juice, Mel. You farking idiot.

Sometimes life is puzzling

Last night I discovered this:


(That's a handknit sock in one of the cats' food bowls.) Fiona does this kind of crazy thing once in a while, or at least I think it's her. Fee loves socks. Every night when I take them off, she comes over to sit on them (so of course I started leaving my socks on the floor for her, because it obviously makes her happy). Once I found a pair of socks, clearly brought in from another room, on one of the dishes. Another time it was tissue paper, neatly and carefully placed on top of one bowl.

I try to live and let live and just keep going, you know? Maybe it's cat performance art.

I started a new sock yesterday:

New Sock

That's Mama-E's superwash sock yarn in Mango Salsa. I'm using the Diagonal Rib pattern from IK again, but this time doing it toe up and with one of those fancy no-flap gusset and short row heels. Of all the socks I've made that one seems to fit me the best.

I'm working this sock on #1s, with 33 stitches on top and 33 on the bottom. The pattern is a multiple of 13 stitches, so I have two full repeats and then I repeated the first 7 stitches again - fairly centered, will fit, and works for toe-up. I used the Queen Kahuna cast on and increased four stitches every other round.

It's a fun sock. Maybe someday it will end up in a kitty bowl somewhere - proof it's loved.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Moving right along

Nothing has changed in my life situation. I JUST LIKE THE WORD, OKAY?

Last night I finished burp cloth #2 for niecie. I sent the green bib, the green/red cloth, the pink bib and a pink/ice cream cloth out today with a couple of other fun little things for her - she turns ONE on Thursday. Big girl!

Lately she has taken to pulling on her brother's ear, and he yells "OW!" every time. Since she doesn't know what OW means, I'm guessing it's a little like having her own private squeak toy. (Last night I told him he should just tell her "no-no.")

I think after I finish the cosmetics bag (by August 9) that it will be a long while before I knit with cotton again. My right hand is really shot. It really needs a break. I have 9 total repeats of the red/pink checked rows. Five are done, so I have four left. Each repeat is 4 rows, for a total of 16 rows left to knit.

I think it would probably be best to knit four rows a day for the next four days, take two days to do the flap, one day for finishing and I'll still have a day left over to whine about how it hurt by the time my friend's birthday rolls around.

(Possibly there is something to be said about buying different cotton for such a project.)

I don't really have a sock in progress and I just want something fun and simple, so I'm hoping to find inspiration soon and get going on that.

I'm "between socks." Har. (Not pregnant, not engaged, and not thinking of private parts on boys.) Y'all.